So Where is the Money Coming From George? Don’t Be Silly From the British Taxpayers of Course.
1. More problems, (other than the £4 billion annual cost of the war in the Middle East) for George to deal with in the next few weeks. All of which will be passed on to the taxpayer whether they agree with it or not.
2. George Osborne, (Chancellor of the Exchequer) in his autumn statement, for delivery to the country in November will announce an increase and extension of existing austerity measures. This will include a number of new cuts in welfare spending and public sector pay restraints, to last for the duration of the parliament and beyond.
3. But MP.s will take up their 11 per cent pay & expenses rise at the start of the new government in 2015.
4. Another bombshell, landing on the desk of the Chancellor is the report, (commissioned by the Speaker of the House, Mr Berkow) from an eminent group of building surveyors giving warning that the entire building is suffering from chronic and continuing deterioration due to subsistence.
5. Corrective measures will need to be put in place so that the Grade 1 listed building can be protected from any further deterioration. These will address;
a. Big Ben is off the vertical by around 18 inches.
b. Significant stress fracture cracks in the walls of the building.
c. Boilers and piping systems are in very bad condition due to their age.
d. Electrical wiring is badly in need of replacement due to fire risks and multiple safety hazards.
e. Internally the Commons chamber itself also needs extensive work and at some point during the next Parliament will have to be shut for 18 months. MPs are expected to relocate to the Lords, with peers probably meeting in the QE2 conference centre opposite Westminster Abbey.
6. The entire programme of works will take between 10 and 20 years to complete and will be tackled in stages so as to reduce disruption. Projected costs vary but conservative estimates are between £4 and £6 Billion over 10 years. Note: Forward planning costs for such a large project is an art not yet perfected and the eventual total cost to the nation may well be in excess of £10Billion.
7. Both Houses agreed that doing nothing is not an option and an independent appraisal of a range of options is under way. The priority will be to ensure value for money for the taxpayer while safeguarding the heritage of the Palace. The final decision will be taken in the next Parliament.